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USA, 1973 (MIFF 1999, Mavericks)

Director: Robert Altman

Antiheroic, unshaven slob Philip Marlowe (Elliott Gould) lives in a contemporary Los Angeles that seems to have completely passed him by. Marlowe is perpetually mum­bling under his breath the mantra, "It's OK with me", not unlike Popeye, a cartoon character that director Altman would later bring to the screen with unfortunate results. A cigarette constantly dangles out the side of his smartass mouth. Marlowe's ostensible mission is to clear his friend Terry Lennox (Jim Bouton) of a murder charge.

Altman's modernist take on loyalty and morality, scripted by Leigh Brackett who worked on The Big Sleep (1946). portrays a seemingly passive and uncompre­hending figure who stands alone against a corrupt world, biding his time until an inevitable final reel payoff.

Technically adventurous—with lovely widescreen compositions, a constantly moving camera, extended lakes and a haunting theme song which is heard in end­less variations throughout the film—The Long Goodbye exudes a noirish atmosphere. Altman reinforces this noir mood through extensive use of Los Angeles locations, the presence of an enigmatic femme fatale (Nina Van Pallandt), a self-destructive alcoholic author (Sterling Hayden), a snivelling weed of a sanatorium proprietor, played by the excellent Henry Gibson, and a violent Jewish crime boss (director Mark Rydell). Arnold Schwarzenegger, billed as Arnold Strong, appears briefly as one of Marly Augustine's hired goons.

See also...


USA, 2005
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z channel: a magnificent obsession

USA, 2004
Directed by Xan Cassavetes, daughter of legendary actor-director John Cassavetes, [Z Channel] is an engrossing account of a TV phenomenon topped off by a bizarre murder-suicide. Jerry Harvey was a vi… More »


USA, 2005
“Not since Woody Allen's Radio Days has anyone created such a cinematic Valentine to the wonderfully imaginative medium of radio as A Prairie Home Companion.” - Hollywood Reporter Protean filmmak… More »


Israel, 2005
Reminiscent of Robert Altman's elaborate ensemble cast pieces, What a Wonderful Place deftly weaves multiple story threads into an intricate tapestry, depicting the lives of marginalised immigrants l… More »


USA, 1980
Health is Robert Altman in one of his broad fresco satires of American conventions. And here his subject is a convention — a health food convention in Florida. The script was written by Frank B… More »

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